Thursday, 15 December 2011

Journeying with Mary Day Nineteen

Day Nineteen - Thursday 15th December 2011

Matthew 2: 1-12
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route

We are back to Matthew's gospel since Luke makes no mention of the Maji at all; as we saw yesterday Luke ends the nativity account with Jesus growing up strong.  Reading through the researched chronology of the nativity it seems clear that the Wise Man would have arrived many months after Jesus was born, possibly a year or more.  In fact Matthew uses the term "child" which certainly hints at Jesus being beyond infancy.  It doesn't really matter when, what matters is that they came.  

Wise men came, from the east, from lands thousands of miles away.  They came following a star which they had not seen before and which was a sign for them that a new king and ruler was being born.  These were not Jewish people, they knew nothing of a Jewish Messiah; they knew only that a star was showing the arrival of a great leader and they were to meet him.

Again God uses those from outside the society of religious order to confirm the Messiah's birth; again Mary is visited by those whom she would not normally associate.  We know not whether anyone else was with Mary and Jesus; perhaps Jesus had younger siblings by this time; who knows.  I imagine that in an ordinary day of their life suddenly some strange looking people arrived to pay homage to Jesus; what a shock, another!  They presented gifts, rich and rare gifts fit for a king; Mary would have seen this and known the meaning, she would have seen another confirmation of Jesus' importance as Messiah to the whole world.

Prayer of the day
Jesus, king of all, your mother was there as you were again visited; how did she react, was she shocked, was she fearful?  How did you react?  We are often surprised in our faith and by the God-incidences in life, today we are reminded of how many of these Mary had and we rejoice with her.

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